Is New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie too fat to be president? Not according to him.
The Republican dismissed the concern on Wednesday night when ABC News’ Barbara Walters asked if he was too heavy to hold the highest office in the country.
Christie, 50, acknowledged he was “more than a little” overweight, but said it’s “ridiculous” to say it would affect his performance.
“I think people have watched me for a number of weeks during Hurricane Sandy doing 18-hour days, and getting right back up the next day and still being just as effective in the job, so I don’t really think that would be a problem,” said the governor.
Of course, there are legitimate health concerns with being so overweight, which some commentators have pointed out.
“Being obese, and he certainly is, makes everyone assume he is a heart attack waiting to happen,” Ed Rollins, a veteran GOP operative, tells the Washington Post.
Being president is hard, and it takes a toll on your body, writes Atlanta-Journal Constitution columnist Jay Bookman.
“If you look at how George W. Bush visibly aged over his eight-year presidency, and how Barack Obama has aged, the toll taken by the job and the campaigning becomes pretty clear. And unlike Christie, both Bush and Obama are pretty serious about staying in good physical shape. It’s perfectly legitimate, even necessary, to consider health when electing a president.”
Of course, there are plenty of people who say his weight shouldn’t matter, that we should judge him by his actions.
“Why does his weight matter at all?” New York Magazine’s Jonathan Chait wrote last year when the topic came up. “The only real reasoning I see here is that American elites view obesity with disgust, and they’re repulsed at the notion that a very fat guy could rise to a position of symbolic leadership.” And some argue that critics wouldn’t be asking the question if Christie was a woman.
Christie hasn’t disclosed just how much he weighs, but as the Los Angeles Times notes, if elected, he’d easily be the biggest president in 100 years. The governor insisted to Walters that he had “no idea” if he was planning on running for president in 2016.
But if he does decide to throw his hat in, the weight issue doesn’t seem like it will go away. .
NBC News’ Chief White House chief correspondent Chuck Todd said today, “Look, if he runs for president…the verison of ‘where are his tax returns?’ is going to be ‘where are his medical records?’